Thursday, March 16, 2017

12 Agents Seeking Literary Fiction NOW

Jonathan Wolstenholme
Updated 9/15/19

Here are twelve agents looking for literary fiction. Literary agents often make a distinction between literary and commercial fiction. In a nutshell, commercial fiction is popular fiction that falls into a genre. Literary fiction has long-lasting social content, features a more complex writing style, and is innovative.

The distinction between commercial/genre/popular books and literary work is not hard and fast. 1984 by George Orwell is genre fiction (dystopian), and is wildly popular, but it is not considered commercial fiction, because it is a work of social commentary.

IMPORTANT: You should NEVER query an agent without checking the agency website first. Submission requirements change, and agents may close their lists, or switch agencies.

Note: You can find a comprehensive list of dozens of new and established agents actively looking for new clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.

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Mitch Hoffman (Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency)

Mitch Hoffman joined the Aaron Priest Literary Agency as a Senior Agent in 2015. A 20-year veteran of the publishing industry, he was most recently Vice-President, Executive Editor at Grand Central Publishing. Mitch is actively building a list of authors writing across the spectrum of fiction and nonfiction, including thrillers, suspense, crime fiction, and literary fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction, politics, popular science, history, memoir, current events, and pop culture. His clients include Meg Bortin, Raymond Khoury, Charles Linehan, Tom Rob Smith, and Radha Vatsal.

How to Submit: Please submit a one-page query letter via e-mail. Please do not send attachments. However a first chapter pasted into the body of an e-mail query is acceptable. Send queries to queryhoffman [@] aaronpriest.com.

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Caryn Karmatz Rudy (DeFiore and Company)

Caryn Karmatz Rudy joined DeFiore and Company in the fall of 2010. Prior to becoming a literary agent, Caryn spent seventeen years as an editor of both fiction and nonfiction for Warner Books/Grand Central Publishing. Her experience on the other side of the publishing desk has armed her with invaluable insight into the hurdles editors face throughout the entire publishing process from the book’s initial acquisition to the marketing, publicity and sales vital to ensuring strong sales…and she believes falling shamelessly in love with a book is the ultimate weapon in any agent’s arsenal.

How to Submit: Please email at Caryn@defliterary.com, using the word “Query” and your book’s title in the subject line. Please include a brief, compelling description of the book in the email, along with a short bio, and for fiction and memoir, please include the first five pages of the manuscript in the body of the email. Attachments will not be opened unless I have requested them.

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Amaryah Orenstein (Go Lit)

Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations, including the Tauber Institute, where she edited books for Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Amaryah earned a BA at McGill University before coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies in American History. She completed an MA at Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute and a PhD at Brandeis University, and currently serves as Co-President of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

How to Submit: Please send your queries to submissions@go-lit.com. Emails should include a description of your work and a brief biographical sketch. Please do not send your manuscript, whole or partial, unless it has been specifically requested.

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Stacy Testa (Writers House)

Stacy is seeking literary fiction and upmarket women’s fiction, particularly stories with international settings, unique subcultures, historical hooks, magical realism, and/or strong, empowered women. "On the nonfiction side, I am interested in acquiring remarkable memoirs, humor writing, essay collections, narrative nonfiction, and prescriptive titles with strong platforms. Broadly speaking, I am drawn to anything with a compelling narrative voice and/or a great sense of humor. And now, more than ever, I want to represent titles that promote social justice."

How to Submit: Please send your query letter to stesta [@] writershouse.com, with the first 5-10 pages of your manuscript pasted into the body of the email. No attachments, please.

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Alison Fargis (Stonesong)

With more than 20 years in publishing, Alison represents a wide range of commercially successful properties and is actively looking for lifestyle, pop culture, health/wellness, diet, parenting, select middle grade and young adult fiction, and adult fiction that blurs the line between literary and commercial. Prior to joining Stonesong in 1995, she taught English to President Vaclav Havel’s staff at the Prague Castle and taught high school English in Příbram, Czech Republic. Alison was the recipient of a Dana Foundation Grant and a Foundation for a Civil Society (Soros Foundation) Fellowship. She graduated Vassar College with a B.A. in Art.

How to Submit: Send queries to submissions [@] stonesong.com. Include the phrase “Query for Alison: [Title]” in the subject line of your e-mail to ensure she receives it and it isn’t filtered as spam. Include the first chapter or first 10 pages of your work, pasted into the body of your e-mail, so that she may get a sense of your writing. Please do not send attachments. Please note that Alison is closed to queries during the months of August and December.

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Shannon Hassan (Marsal Lyon Literary)

Before becoming an agent, Shannon was the Acquisitions Editor at Fulcrum Publishing, and prior to that, a corporate attorney at Arnold & Porter in New York. She received her JD from Harvard and her BA from George Washington University.

How to Submit: Please send a query letter by e-mail, with the word QUERY in the e-mail’s subject line, to Shannon [@] MarsalLyonLiteraryAgency.com.

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Kerry D’Agostino (Curtis Brown)

Kerry D’Agostino started working at Curtis Brown, Ltd. in 2011 as assistant to Tim Knowlton and Holly Frederick in the Film and Television Department. Before Curtis Brown, she received her certificate in publishing from the Columbia Publishing Course, her masters in Art in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her bachelors from Bowdoin College.

How to Submit: Please e-mail query letters to kd [@] cbltd.com, along with a synopsis and three sample chapters.

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Peter Rubie (FinePrint Literary Management)

Peter Rubie is a former BBC Radio and Fleet Street journalist and for several years was the director of the publishing section of the New York University Summer Publishing Institute. He was a member of the NYU faculty for 10 years, and taught the only university-level course in the country on how to become a literary agent.

How to Submit: Send a query letter with a synopsis of your book, your bio, and the first two chapters (no more than 30 pages) embedded in the body of your email to peter@fineprintlit.com.

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Hannah Brattesani (Emma Sweeney Agency)

Hannah started as the agency assistant at Emma Sweeney Agency, then took over the foreign rights coordinator role and is currently building her own list as an agent. During her first year at the agency, she also worked as the contracts coordinator at Blue Flower Arts, a literary speakers bureau based in Millbrook, New York.

How to Submit: Send to queries@emmasweeneyagency.com  and paste the first ten (10) pages of your novel into the text of your e-mail.

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Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)

Eric Smith is a literary agent at P.S. Literary, with a love for young adult books, sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction. He began his publishing career at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, working social media and marketing on numerous books he absolutely adored. Eric completed his BA in English at Kean University, and his MA in English at Arcadia University. 

How to submit: Queries should be directed to query@psliterary.com.

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Joseph Perry (Perry Literary)

Joseph Perry is a new agent at Perry Literary, Inc. Before founding Perry Literary, Joseph began his book publishing career when he attended the New York University Summer Publishing Institute in 2010. After interning at FinePrint Literary Management, Joseph enrolled at St. John’s University School of Law to learn about the legal aspects of publishing and graduated with a juris doctor in 2015. During law school, Joseph interned in the legal departments at Hachette Book Group; Rodale, Inc.; and William Morris Endeavor, as well as the subsidiary rights department at Columbia University Press. Joseph also holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from St. Bonaventure University.

How to submit: Queries should be sent to jperry@perryliterary.com with the words “QUERY (the title of the manuscript)” in the subject line. Please submit a query letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript within the body of the email (not as an attachment, please). If submitting a picture book, please include the entire manuscript.

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Cecilia Lyra (The Rights Factory)

Cecilia Lyra holds a Master's Degree in Banking and Financial Law from Boston University and is completing a graduate certificate in publishing. In 2016, she bid adieu to her life as lawyer and professor of law to become a writer and literary agent.

How to submit:Submissions can be emailed to cecilia@therightsfactory.com. Please include (in the body of the email): a pitch; a bio (including a summary of your writing credentials and platform, if applicable); and the first ten pages of your work.

4 comments:

  1. THis is an exciting list. I wish I had a book ready for submission. I am in editing of 1 writing 2 and one in outlining.

    THank you for sharing this list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your list. Very helpful. I hope this is all still relevant as I'm going for it. In a big way!
    Regards
    Anthony

    ReplyDelete
  3. Please note that Kerry D’Agostino (Curtis Brown) - email bounced back. Assuming left. cheers
    Contacted most of the others. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kerry D'Agostino is still working at Curtis Brown. Her email address is listed as kd@cbltd.com

    ReplyDelete

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